District 3 consists of thirteen neighborhoods: Allentown, Arlington, Arlington Heights, Beltzhoover, Carrick, Central Oakland, Knoxville, Mt. Oliver, Oakcliffe, South Oakland, South Side Flats, South Side Slopes, St. Clair
Allentown was carved out of St. Clair Township, which was one of the original townships of Allegheny County. On April 26, 1827 an Englishman named Joseph Allen purchased the land that would eventually be known as Allentown from Jeremiah Warder. Incorporated on March 2, 1870 and annexed by the City of Pittsburgh on April 2, 1872, Allentown was settled by many skilled German immigrants who established numerous businesses.
Welsh, Irish, and English settlers made up the second largest immigrant population. Allentown developed quickly due to its convenient location to downtown as well as the available transportation. Two main roads south from Pittsburgh merged on the hilltop in Allentown – Washington Road (today’s Warrington Ave) and Brownsville Turnpike Road (today’s Arlington Ave). The neighborhoods were connected at first by horse-drawn streetcars and later by the electric streetcar. In 1888 Allentown became the first site west of the Allegheny Mountains to operate an electric streetcar.
Ever since then the trolley service, or the ‘T’, has run through the neighborhood of Allentown keeping the hilltop residents connected to the downtown. In the past there were five inclines that served Allentown, the most famous of which was the curved Knoxville incline with a station at the intersection of Warrington and Arlington. Today the 'T', several bus routes, and many more roads connect the neighborhood with the downtown, South Side, and beyond.
Arlington is south of Downtown, and is surrounded by Arlington Heights, St. Clair, Mt. Oliver and the South Side. The houses in Arlington range from brick row houses to multi-story grand homes perched on the edge of the hill, with a spectacular view of Downtown and Oakland.
Neighbors of the Arlington community are vocal about issues concerning the children, the school system, and their children's safety. The neighborhood of is considered a good, tight, homey area with many people, churches, merchants, and bankers all working to preserve their quality of life. The Henry Kaufman Center in Arlington is the hub of the neighborhood activities, ranging from awards dinners, after-school reading, recreation programs, and senior citizen programs. Residents of all ages also enjoy the use of Bill Soltz Field, Arlington Gym and Cobden Basketball Court. South Side Park and Arlington Pool are places where anyone can be a kid again. The Arlington's residents are lively in maintaining this tight-knit neighborhood.
Arlington Heights is south of Downtown and is surrounded by Arlington and South Side. The businesses located in Arlington Heights include a Laundromat, deli, and a used furniture store. The business owner makes certain to employ residents from the neighborhood in an effort to keep the money earned in the neighborhood in the neighborhood.
Arlington Heights Recreation Center has an array of activities including night basketball, arts and crafts and drill team practice facilities for the Arlington Heights Stompers. The YMCA-Arlington Height Branch offers programs for preschoolers, teenagers, and senior citizens. Arlington Heights also has an active tenant council. This myriad of groups and programs unifies the community of Arlington Heights.
Beltzhoover was annexed to the City of Pittsburgh on March 1, 1898. The neighborhood was named for Melchior Beltzhoover, a German landowner and member of a prominent family which settled the area.
On June 25, 1794, Beltzhoover purchased his property (248.5 acres) from John Ormsby for 745 pounds, 10 shillings (about $1,800 today). He and his wife Elizabeth farmed the purchase and raised a large family. In 1806, he willed the property to his sons Henry, George, Jacob, Daniel, Samuel, William and daughter, Elizabeth. Jacob took over the family farm, tavern and tanyard.
In the 1860’s, the firm of McLain and Maple bought the farms and laid out plots and streets. Thomas Maple, son-in-law of Benjamin McLain, named a street for each of his children; Florence, Eugenia, Howard and Harriet, now called Delmont, Michigan, Estella and Industry, respectively, and the unchanged Vincent, Lillian and Walter.
Areas of Beltzhoover bear colorful names. Houses on Freeland Street, made of grey sandstone from a nearby quarry, were termed Quarry Row. Butchers’ Grove, once a favorite spot for oxen roasts held by butchers and slaughterhouse employees, is now McKinley Park. Slag Hollow was named for the slag from coal mines. Magazine Hill was the site of a brick powder magazine constructed in 1863 when Robert E. Lee’s northern campaign posted a threat.
Most housing in Beltzhoover dates from 1850 to 1900. The neighborhood is currently the subject of a revitalization effort by several local organizations, such as the Beltzhoover Concerned Citizens Development Corporation, the Hilltop Housing Initiative, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Although the German roots still remain, the neighborhood is populated mostly by African Americans and people of Italian extraction today, although some descendants of its original families still remain. Beltzhoover takes pride in having a touch of the past while creating a link for the future.
Art museums, history centers, prestigious universities, grand architecture, quaint coffee shops, international cuisine, arcades, art cinemas, live entertainment, and two main thoroughfares all describe the hustle and bustle that is Oakland.
Many Oakland residents are students at the University of Pittsburgh or Carnegie Mellon University, creating a diverse student/residential body that is comprised of individuals from at least 90 nations. Long considered the cultural center of Pittsburgh, Oakland houses the Carnegie Library Main Branch , the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, Carnegie Music Hall, and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. If it is shopping and dining you are looking for, be sure to cruise the Craig Street business district. And once the sun goes down, grab your favorite beverage in one of Oakland's many night spots.
Fifth and Forbes Avenues, Pittsburgh's two main east-west traffic arteries, pass through Oakland, with bus stops on nearly every corner. Most Oakland residents get around by bus, bicycle, or by foot, lending a true "City" closeness and atmosphere.
Knoxville Borough was incorporated on September 7, 1877; much of the land on which Knoxville exists belonged to the Beltzhoover family. A man named Jeremiah Knox resided there in the early part of the nineteenth century and a possible frequent visitor to the Beltzhoover home, and it was there that he was married to Jacob Beltzhoover’s daughter, Sarah.
After his marriage to Sarah, Mr. Knox took over the management of the farm where strawberries grown at the farm were particularly well known. His farm produce commanded a high price in the local markets. The fruit of the Jucunda strawberry, which had been imported from France, sold for $1 a quart.
The location of Knoxville, on the second ridge from the Monongahela River, was a desirable location because it was shielded from the smoke emanating from the factories and mills of the South Side. Knox began to subdivide his farm for residential development in 1872. Knoxville then became accessible from the South Side in the 1870s with the opening of an incline by the Pittsburgh, Knoxville & St. Clair Electric Railroad. Because of its desirable location and easy access to the South Side, Knoxville attracted many workers of the South Side mills as residents. Knoxville Borough was finally annexed by the City of Pittsburgh in 1920 and carries on its long tradition to this day.
Mt. Oliver Neighborhood
Not to be confused with the borough of Mt. Oliver, which exists independently of the City-proper as a self-governing borough, a small neighborhood sharing the Mt. Oliver name is represented by the third district of the City of Pittsburgh. Almost entirely residential, Mt. Oliver sits to the west of the Monongahela River on a hillcrest.
Mt. Oliver is home to about 600 residents, and the neighborhood maintains a feel of small town living just minutes from the City. As a result of its small size, Mt. Oliver residents develop close ties with surrounding neighborhoods, schools, and businesses. Mt. Oliver residents also enjoy the security of a shared block watch group among local neighborhoods.
Comprised of 5 main streets in southwest Oakland, Oakcliffe includes Ophelia Street, Lawn Street, Craft Avenue, Joe Hammer Square, Niagara Street and Kennett Square. The Oakcliffe Housing Club is one of the oldest community organizations in Oakland.
The South Side was once composed of a number of smaller communities. These included Birmingham and East Birmingham, both named for the English Midlands industrial center; Ormsby, originally a part of East Birmingham; South Pittsburgh, the area immediately adjacent to the Smithfield Street Bridge, and Monongahela, named for the adjacent river. These boroughs were collectively annexed to the City in 1872.
The South Side and much of the hillsides to its south had been granted to Major John Ormsby in 1763 in recognition his assistance in the building of Fort Pitt. By the 1770’s Ormsby had built an estate on these lands and established a ferry for connecting his home with the community in Pittsburgh.
In 1811, Ormsby’s son-in-law, Dr. Nathaniel Bedford, laid out a town on the flats, naming it Birmingham in tribute to his native City. Bedford had come to Pittsburgh around 1770 and was the first practicing physician in Allegheny County. He named the streets after Ormsby’s children; names which the South Side streets still bear – Mary, Jane, Sarah, Sidney. Carson St. was named after a sea captain who lived in Philadelphia and was a friend of Dr. Bedford.The nearby municipality of Mount Oliver would be named for John Ormsby’s son Oliver Ormsby.
Birmingham quickly became a sizable industrial center because of the easy access to river and rail transport. The region would first become a center of glass production, followed by a concentration of iron and steel manufacturing. In 1850 Benjamin Franklin Jones invested in a South Side iron works. During the depression of 1873 he formed a partnership with a banker, James Laughlin. The firm of Jones and Laughlin (J&L) Steel Company would eventually become the South Side’s largest employer. By 1910 it would employ over 15,000 workers.
The majority of the workers who had settled in the area were immigrants of Eastern Europe. They found home throughout the Flats and Slopes of South Side and had brought allot of their culture and traditions to the area. Many of the Eastern European churches, clubs and bars are still present in the South Side.
The early 1980s would see the beginnings of redevelopment on the South Side. The South Side Local Development Company was formed in 1982. In 1985, South Side’s East Carson Street was selected to participate in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Urban Demonstration Program. Community involvement would play a major role in the redevelopment of the former J&L site.
The J&L Steel Company had merged with the Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) Corporation in 1974. LTV would merge its J&L Steel subsidiary with Republic Steel to form LTV Steel in 1984. The South Side J&L/LTV steel plant shut down in 1986. The URA redeveloped the site to be the Southside Works complex. The project has brought national retailers to the neighborhood.
South Oakland runs along the Monongahela River and forms a triangular shape between the Monongahela River, Boulevard of the Allies, and the western bank of Junction Hollow. Magee-Women's Hospital of UPMC is a major landmark of this neighborhood. Both Andy Warhol and Dan Marino were born in this little neighborhood. South Oakland Neighborhood Group (SONG) is the community group for South Oakland.
The neighborhood of St. Clair was annexed by the city of Pittsburgh in 1920 and is an extremely unique neighborhood in the respect that there is no commerce in the area; St. Clair represents one of the last remaining entirely residential communities. The largest part of St. Clair residents live in 556 units in the Pittsburgh Housing Authority’s St. Clair Village, a 1950s housing initiative that is still inhabited today.
Despite its residential status, St. Clair is hardly isolated from the rest of the colorful Pittsburgh community. The neighborhood is bordered by the charming Mount Oliver, Carrick, and Arlington neighborhoods.
The sense of community in St. Clair is further established by the presence of an active tenant council, an athletic association and the beautiful Lighthouse Cathedral, a church established in 1992. St. Clair is a pocket of people adjacent to our wonderful city.